Tag Archives: parent

When A Toxic Relationship Shifts

In various relationships with the narcissists in my life, I remember a shift in their attitude with me.  It was always subtle, but I noticed it anyway.

My ex husband & I started dating during the second semester of eleventh grade.  By the end of the first semester of twelfth grade, he had become a bit distant.  We wrote notes often as many kids in the 80’s did, & suddenly his went from at least one or two a day to one every few days before suddenly stopping entirely.

Later in life, when I began pulling away from my parents & setting some boundaries, their attitudes became different.  My mother was obviously furious with me, but didn’t admit to it.  My father became controlling for the first time. 

I met my late mother in-law some months before my husband & I began dating, when we were just friends.  One day I was going to drive him to pick up a car he was buying.  I picked him up at his parents’ home, & although I could tell his mother didn’t particularly like me, she seemed somewhat friendly.  Once she realized we were dating, she became ice cold.  After we got married almost 4 years later, she became extremely vicious with me.

This sort of behavior is very common with narcissists.  No matter the type of relationship, at some point, there is a change in their attitude with the victim.  That change often comes about when the narcissist realizes the victim doesn’t want to lose the narcissist.  It also can happen when the victim starts to set boundaries or the narcissist sees the victim as a threat in some way.  Either way, narcissists want to make sure their victim behaves as they want.  What better way to do this than to abuse that victim?  They may make their victim feel so insecure, as if the relationship is bad & it’s all the victim’s fault.  They also may become controlling & manipulative, trying to make the victim feel as if they need to earn the narcissist’s affections.  They may make the victim feel as if it’s best to do whatever the narcissist wants rather than displease the narcissist & face their wrath.  The type of wrath naturally varies between overt & covert narcissists, but in either case it’s best not to face it, so many victims will do absolutely anything to avoid it.

The really horrible part of this is while this abuse happens behind closed doors, the narcissist continues to wear their mask to convince everyone else they are a wonderful person.  When a victim looks for advice & support, those who also know the narcissist often tell the victim how lucky they are to have such a wonderful person in their life.  That person loves the victim so much!  It must be nice having someone so loving in their life.  They’re lucky to have a parent or significant other care so much about them.  Such responses can leave a victim baffled & feeling as if they are the problem in the relationship. 

The result is the victim often stays in the relationship.  The victim feels utterly alone because no one believes them.  They believe the narcissist’s good guy/good girl act instead.  Victims learn quickly there isn’t any point in discussing the abuse because no one believes them.  Meanwhile, the abuse gets worse & worse.

Have you been in this situation?  Are you in it now?  If so, you’re not alone!  This is typical of relationships with narcissists. 

Don’t beat yourself up for getting yourself into this situation or tolerating too much from the narcissist.  Narcissists are experts at psychological warfare.  They can manipulate even the most brilliant of people because they are just that good at what they do. 

You also need to pray a lot.  God willingly gives wisdom to anyone who asks for it according to James 1:5, so ask for it!  He can help you to cope if you’re still in the situation or find ways to help yourself heal if you have escaped it.

Always remember that the treatment from the narcissist isn’t your fault.  Their actions are 100% their responsibility.  Don’t accept the blame for their behavior.  Don’t carry their shame for their actions.  Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, healing from narcissistic abuse & about how to have healthy boundaries.  Take care of & protect yourself.

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Childhood Wounds That Can Affect People Into Adulthood

Childhood experiences help to form us into the adults we become.  Those of us with traumatic childhoods naturally turn into dysfunctional adults.  Hopefully we realize this & want to become more functional & healthy.  Sometimes though we aren’t sure where to start.  I firmly believe that getting to the root of things is best.  If you garden, you know that you can spray a weed with poison & it will vanish for a while, but it’ll come back again.  However, if you pull it up by the roots, it’ll never return.  Healing is the same way, which is why I tell people that getting to the root of issues is so important.

Relating to healing, I mean you need to look at what is causing the problem, not just the problem itself.  If something makes you angry when you remember it, for example, why does it make you angry?  Did you not feel heard?  Did you feel unloved, neglected or invalidated?  Recognizing your anger is only part of the process.  Once you identify how the event made you feel, you can truly start to heal.

Certain childhood wounds cause certain behaviors, which is what we’re discussing today. 

A childhood abandonment wound happens when a parent isn’t there for their child either physically such as if the parent dies or the parents divorce, but also happens if the parent isn’t there emotionally such as in the case of narcissistic parents.  The abandonment wound manifests as someone who hates to be alone, who is afraid of loved ones leaving them, & may be codependent. People who are emotionally unavailable or out of touch with their feelings are very attracted to those who have abandonment wounds.

A childhood neglect wound results from a parent neglecting their child’s needs.  The neglect can be as obvious as not providing the child with food or medical care, or it can be less obvious such as a parent regularly not caring that their child is upset.  This type of childhood wound manifests as low self esteem or even self hatred, a lack of boundaries, being quick to anger, & repressing emotions.  People who are attracted to someone with a neglect wound are the type who don’t appreciate them & often even make them feel invisible.

A shame wound is very common among those who have experienced childhood narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists use shame as a weapon because it is so incredibly effective.  Where guilt makes a person feel as if they have done something wrong, shame makes a person feel as if they are wrong bad or incredibly broken for doing whatever they did.  Shame damages or even annihilates self esteem.  A person with very low or non-existent self esteem is easily controlled & manipulated, because they lake faith in their decision making abilities & intelligence.  They look to others because they feel so ill equipped.  This wound manifests as an intense disdain for asking for help or for things, feeling bad or flawed, & lacking boundaries.  Narcissists are attracted to those who have shame wounds.

If any of these describe you, know that hope is not lost!  You can heal!  Now that you know the root of your problem, you can find the most effective means of healing.  It will take time & work, but you can heal!  I believe in you!

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Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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A Common Sign Of Narcissistic Abuse: Isolation

One very common sign of narcissism in adults is isolating their victims. 

Narcissistic parents can come across as over protective.  The truth though is that many forbid their children to spend time with or even speak to other people, even people within their own family.  If the children disobey, they are severely punished.  My mother raged terribly when I spent time with my now ex husband when we were in high school.  She also kept me close to her side when we visited family, not allowing me much time alone with my cousins or grandparents.

When children of narcissistic parents grow up, their parents often do their best to start trouble in their child’s friendships & even their marriage.  They often treat friends as if they are unworthy to speak to.  Some narcissistic parents tell their adult children outright that their spouse isn’t good enough while others demonstrate this is how they feel without saying the words by behaviors such as refusing to acknowledge the spouse’s birthday.  Other narcissistic parents will outright lie to their adult child about the spouse, such as claiming that spouse has been unfaithful or abuses their children.  From my observations, the majority of narcissistic parents do as my in-laws have done, & treat the spouse poorly behind the adult child’s back yet are nice to the spouse only when the adult child is around.  By doing this, when the spouse complains, the adult child doesn’t believe them because they only saw their parent being nice to them.  This causes a great deal of friction in a marriage & many marriages fail because of this behavior.  That of course is the goal.

While some use obviously controlling behaviors such as threats, most narcissistic spouses are more subtle in how they isolate their victims.  They plant seeds of doubt in their spouse’s minds about people they want out of their spouse’s life.  My ex husband told me my best friend wasn’t a good friend to me & didn’t really care about me.  He said the same about my wonderful grandparents.  He obviously disapproved of me having people in my life who could see through his toxic behavior.  My best friend & I went our separate ways for years & I stepped out of my grandparents’ life for years too because of him.  On a side note, I’m happy to say he is out of my life, & my best friend is back in it.  My grandmother died not long after I left my grandparents’ life, unfortunately.  I did reconnect with my grandfather though & had 3 good years with him before he passed away.

The reason narcissists isolate their victims is because an isolated victim is easy to control.  Isolated people don’t have good people in their lives who will tell them that the way they are being treated is wrong, they deserve better or that they don’t have to tolerate such behavior which means they’ll tolerate the abuse.  They don’t have good people who will help them to escape the abuse or to help them heal which often leaves them in the position of feeling that they have no way to escape.  Without such good people in a person’s life, it can be very easy to accept abuse.  A person often even loses the desire to leave the abusive relationship, because they are so beaten down by their abuser either physically or emotionally or both. 

If this describes your situation, know that you are NOT alone!  I would dare say almost every victim of narcissistic abuse has been in this situation.  Don’t let that be a reason to stay in the situation though.  Reach out however you can.  Online forums are a great way to meet others who understand.  I have a Facebook group full of caring, understanding & supportive people.  There are many others as well, & not just on Facebook. 

If the narcissist monitors your online activities, then talk to someone else, such as your doctor or pastor.  Call a crisis hotline, preferably a domestic violence one.  They should be able to help or at the very least point you in the direction of help available to you in your area either to help you escape the narcissist or at least find safe people to talk to.  Isolation is a form of abuse, & you deserve better than to be abused!

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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Encouragement For Those Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

I don’t know how many nasty comments I have heard people say when it comes to severing ties with narcissistic parents.  I’ve heard no contact with a narcissistic parent is taking the easy way out.  Relationships take work, & walking away is cowardly & lazy.  Blood is thicker than water, so just put up with whatever they do.  Every time I hear this sort of nonsense, I just want to scream.

If someone has told you something similar, I want to encourage you today to ignore their idiocy!  Rather than feel badly for severing ties with your abusive parents, consider some points…

Most of us who have gone no contact agonized over the decision for a long time.  It wasn’t done thoughtlessly.  Quite the opposite!  It took me at least a couple of years before going no contact.

A lot of pain & suffering led up to the decision to go no contact.  Years upon years of abuse led to it.  This decision wasn’t reached because of one small disagreement!  It was reached only after suffering years of constant emotional & mental abuse.  Often other forms of abuse were present as well such as spiritual, physical, sexual & financial.  There is absolutely NO reason to tolerate that from anyone!  It’s only right to protect yourself!

No contact isn’t easy.  Not only the decision to sever ties with a parent.  The aftermath can be incredibly difficult. 

Many narcissists engage in horrific smear campaigns that turn a person’s entire family & many friends against them.  So many people who go no contact with their narcissistic parents lose any family they have as well, because the family blindly sides with the narcissist.  The ones who go no contact are labeled as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, evil, un-Godly & more.  This happened to me, & I can tell you that it is incredibly painful when people you think care about you turn on you & side with the people who have caused you such intense pain. 

Other narcissists refuse to take no contact as an answer.  They harass & stalk their victims mercilessly.  They show up places where the victim frequents often.  They inundate their victim with constant phone calls, voicemail messages, text messages, emails & social media messages.  The sheer volume can be utterly staggering!  And, they will have others harass you too.  I have been in this situation & I really can’t describe how terrifying it is.  To think that someone has the ability to manipulate others into harassing you & can devote so much time to harassing you makes you wonder what else exactly are they capable of doing?  It’s also terrifying when you block one means of accessing you they have then suddenly they show up via another means.  One of my abusers was so vicious that I blocked her access to my website, because she began contacting me through it after I’d blocked her ip address by usingother computers.  One of her messages simply said “boo!”  To me, that clearly was her way of saying, “You can’t stop me!”  So disturbing!

Even if you are fortunate enough not to experience those scenarios, that doesn’t mean no contact is easy.  Once you’re away from the constant abuse, you’d think you could relax & begin to enjoy life, but that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes, once your brain realizes it can stop functioning in survival mode, it seems to want to force you to face all of the problems that were on the back burner because you had to focus on survival.  That can be very overwhelming at first, & it takes time to make your mind behave in a more manageable way.

There is also a grief process that happens after no contact with narcissistic parents.  You grieve the parents you never had but wanted.  You grieve your stolen childhood.  You grieve the family & friends you lost only because you were trying to protect yourself.  You realize your parents & family never loved you, & grieve that loss. 

No contact isn’t easy by any means.  To follow through with it takes an incredible amount of courage & strength.  Never, ever let anyone make you feel as if something is wrong with you for severing ties with your narcissistic parents.  Instead be proud of yourself  because you had the fortitude to do one of the most difficult things a person can do!

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Losing A Narcissistic Parent

When someone’s parent dies, if they had a good relationship with that parent, or at least the relationship looked good to outsiders, chances are good they will get plenty of support.  People will tell them how sorry they were for their loss, bake casseroles & say things like, “If there’s anything I can do, call me.” 

When a narcissistic parent dies, however, the scenario is much different.  The usual signs of support & love aren’t common.  Quite the opposite in many cases.  Often, flying monkeys come out of the woodwork to shame the adult child at this time for being such a terrible son or daughter.  To add insult to injury, people often don’t know what to say to someone who has lost a narcissistic parent.  They seem to think since the adult child wasn’t close to the parent or maybe hadn’t even seen them in quite some time prior to their death, their death doesn’t affect the adult child at all.  They may say a brief, “sorry to hear about your parent” & then act as if nothing has happened. 

When my parents died, this was my experience. My father died in October, 2017, & I hadn’t spoken to my father in several months, then almost eighteen months later when my mother died, we hadn’t spoken in almost exactly three years.  My father was the first of my parents to die.  His death was surrounded by flying monkey attacks.  They happened frequently for a few months prior to his death, then daily for his final three weeks.  When my mother died, it also was an incredibly hard time for me.  Thankfully there weren’t many flying monkey attacks, but it was still very difficult.  The circumstances surrounding her death & her final few months were tragic, leaving me feeling incredibly guilty for being no contact when she clearly needed help.

The scenarios I described earlier is exactly how things worked for my husband & I.  When his parents were getting sicker & frailer, he spent a lot of time with them.  He was the only one to take them to the hospital & help them out when no one else would.  People showered him with concern & love when they passed away.  My husband got through the situation quite well, keeping to himself as is his nature, but no doubt several folks would have been more than happy to listen if he wanted to talk or if he’d needed help. When my parents died, things were very different. Those closest to me were very supportive but those not as close to me weren’t.  It was clear they didn’t know what to say or do, so in most cases, they said & did nothing, even acting as if nothing unusual had happened in my life.

Since so many of you who follow my work are in positions more like mine, & you are on my heart to talk to today.

When your narcissistic parent dies, it’s going to be hard.  The lack of support & understanding from those in your life may make it harder.  And, it really hurts!

I learned something.  It’s perfectly normal to feel as I did.  If you feel the same way, you’re ok!

For one thing, it’s a shock.  Narcissistic parents seem to take up all the space in the relationship.  They can feel bigger than life.  That means it’s impossible to imagine life without them.  It even can feel like them dying is impossible – they’ll always be there.  The fact they aren’t anymore is a strange & difficult thing to face.

There’s also the fact that losing a parent is different than losing anyone else.  You never lived one single day without your parent.  You may not have seen them daily or called often, but even so, the only world you know involved your parents being in it.  They were always a part of your reality.  That alone makes it seem impossible to make sense of a world without them. 

Lastly, whatever the relationship, if you’re drastically affected by your parent’s death it’s because you loved your parent.  That is totally normal.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  That is just as normal as feeling virtually nothing when your narcissistic parent dies because you grieved them enough when they were alive. 

Losing a narcissistic parent is a very strange thing to face.  Don’t judge yourself for how you feel about it.  Just focus on taking care of yourself, & grieving however you need to.

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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Authoritarian Parents

Many narcissistic parents fall into the category of being authoritarian parents.  In other words, they demand strict obedience to their authority from their children.

Authoritarian parents accept no excuses for disobedience.  Their children are to ignore anything that might go against obeying their parents.  If the parent wants their child to do something, it doesn’t matter if that child is sick or otherwise physically unable to do that task.  The child must do it or face serious consequences for their perceived disobedience.

They also do not have any interest in their children’s feelings or needs.  So what if the child wants to join the drama club in school?  The authoritarian parent wants that child to play football.  This means that child will be playing football, & not be allowed to participate in the drama club.

As children of authoritarian parents get older & want to begin dating, this is a real problem for these parents.  A boyfriend or girlfriend could interfere with the control the parent has over the child.  I experienced this myself.  When I told my mother I’d asked a boy to a school dance, she told me no man would ever want me because I was so pushy.  A few years later when I wanted to date, she would rage at me daily for this, calling me terrible names, accusing me of terrible things I hadn’t done & telling me how awful he was even though she knew nothing about him at that time.  This is pretty typical behavior of authoritarian parents in this situation.

They also want their children to remain children indefinitely.  While their bodies don’t stop maturing, they hope to stunt the growth of their minds.  This happens by various devious means, such as treating the child as if she or he is incapable of doing things to the parent must do them instead, talking to the child as if he or she is much younger & reminding the child of all of the things the parent has done for that child because the child couldn’t do those things.

Growing up in this way is obviously very damaging to a child.  Children of authoritarian parents don’t have a balanced view of authority.  How could they considering they grew up with the main authority figure in their life being so demanding & cruel?

Some children grow up & rebel against any authority.  They don’t tolerate anyone telling them what to do & sometimes even asking them to do things.  Often someone like this is a spouse that is incredibly procrastinating of things their spouse nicely asks them to do.  These people became fed up with being ordered about, & are simply done with it.  Any hint of someone else bossing them around & they shut down.  They may exhibit passive/aggressive behaviors to avoid doing what they are told, such as doing the task badly or doing it only on their schedule, ignoring when the task needs to be done.

Many children go in the exact opposite direction, & become very submissive.  Nothing is too much to ask of this person.  There isn’t even a need to ask nicely.  That person is always willing to do as told, no matter who is telling them to do what.  They can become extreme people pleasers.  It is likely that eventually as an adult, this child will become fed up with being such a people pleaser.  Sometimes they even go too far in the opposite direction for a while, refusing to do anything they are told to do or getting disproportionately angry when someone asks them to do something.  That behavior often doesn’t last terribly long though & they become more balanced in time.

If this post describes you, then please know you’re not alone & all is not lost!  Ask God to help you however you need.  Consider the authority figures in your life from an objective & logical point of view.  Are you respecting their authority or not?  If you give in too much, how can you set healthy boundaries with people?  If someone asks you to do something & your natural reaction is to rebel, how can you improve your attitude?  Study boundaries, too.  Learning more about where you end & others begin can be very helpful in learning balance in this area.

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Abusers Warp Victims’ Perceptions Of Abuse

When a person has been abused chronically in their childhood, naturally they grow up different than the average person.  One difference is they grow up with a very different perception of abuse over the average person.

When parents abuse a child, that child assumes abuse equals love.  Children seem to be unable to comprehend that their parent doesn’t love them, so instead they naturally equate abuse with love.  They excuse & white wash abusive acts or even subconsciously repress the memories of these acts.  Unfortunately these behaviors that help these children survive at the time also cause major problems later in life.

As this child grows up, they often end up in abusive relationships with friends & romantic partners.  This happens because they assume when someone is abusive, it means that person loves them.  The red flags at the beginning of the relationship that would cause most people to walk away from the relationship go unnoticed or are excused away by the adult abused child.  They try harder to please the unpleasable abuser.  This makes the abuser more & more demanding, because abusers enjoy watching their victims jump through hoops trying everything to please them.  The victim keeps trying, & the miserable cycle continues.

 As if this isn’t enough, abusers also encourage victims to white wash or even forget that they have abused their victim.   If an abuser can get a victim to excuse the abuser or even forget it ever happened, they can continue to abuse their victim.  If a victim can believe that this is the first time something has happened, they will tolerate more of it than if they realize this is the umpteenth time that has happened.  They simply continue the relationship as if no abuse happened.

This warped perception of abuse also raises the victim’s tolerance for abuse, because they become desensitized to it.  Their abusers have convinced them that the abuse is no big deal, they are just being too sensitive or everyone acts this way, or the victim is stupid for not realizing that this is normal behavior.  Victims assume what their abusers told them is true, so they tolerate the abuse.

Abusers use some other tactics to warp their victim’s views of abuse.  Love bombing is a very common tactic abusers use, in particular among romantic partners.  They shower their victims with romance, gifts, complements & other loving gestures.  Love bombing also can happen with friends or family, though.  They show their victims love, respect, gentleness & even kind words.  The idea is that these gestures will make the victim focus on them & less on the horrific acts the abuser perpetrated on them.  Often though the encouragement takes the form of gaslighting.  Abusers shame their victims for bringing up abusive episodes by saying things like, “You need to let that go,”  “You’re living in the past,” “You’re too sensitive!” or,  “I don’t see what the big deal is.”  They also may attack your religious beliefs by saying things like,  “You say you’re a Christian.  You need to forgive & forget,”  or, “You aren’t honoring me as your parent by acting that way.  The Bible says you should honor me.”

If you have experienced such things, you’re not alone!  Almost every victim of abuse has experienced them to some degree.

To cope, as always I recommend praying as the best place to start.  Ask God to help you have clarity & discernment, & to identify the truth over the lies.

I found a very difficult but incredibly effective way to help me in this area.  I wrote my autobiography.  I’m not saying you need to write yours & publish it as I did of course, but at least consider writing it.  There is something about seeing your story in writing that is incredibly validating!  It helps you see your story from a different angle, & it makes it more real somehow.  Like I said, it’s difficult, but it’s very well worth doing considering how much healing it can bring.

 

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My Newest Mini Book & Crochet Pattern Are Available

One question I have been asked with disturbing regularity over the years is “How can I honor my narcissistic parent?” I decided to write my newest mini book, “How To Honor Abusive Parents” to answer that question. It includes practical advice as well as plenty of Scripture to help the reader understand what it truly means to honor parents, even abusive ones. The ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1133395

And, because thinking about issues like Narcissistic Personality Disorder all the time is unhealthy, I also took some down time & created a new crochet pattern. It’s a scarf made from a pattern that resembles kittens. It works up fast & is super cute, if I can brag a little. That pattern ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1129714

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20% Off ALL Print Books!

My publisher turns 20 this year, & as a way to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off print book purchases until February 11, 2022. All you have to do to take advantage is use code 20FOR20 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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A Little About Hatred After Abuse

Many people believe that hate is a terrible thing & to be avoided at all costs.  Of course it’s true that hatred can lead to some pretty terrible things such as causing others physical & emotional pain, prejudices or criminal behavior, even murder.

However, hate also can have some good purposes when it is used correctly.

Hate can be a great motivator for change.  Consider a person who has been seriously injured & has a long road ahead of them if they want to recover fully.  They have two choices – do nothing to help themselves heal & live with a permanent problem or work hard to recover.  A person who hates living with the problem will do whatever they have to in order to recover.

On a larger scale, if enough people hate a certain act, they can make changes in their community or even country.  So many parents of murdered children have worked hard to create new laws designed to help the police find people who commit these heinous acts, to punish them & to protect children.  Others have created organizations to help find missing children or organizations that support the parents & families of murdered children.  John Walsh is a great example.  After his son Adam was kidnapped & murdered in 1981, he went on to do great things for missing children.  He helped to change laws to protect children & also created the famous television show “America’s Most Wanted” as a way to help put criminals in jail.  His hatred for what was done to his little boy motivated them to do great things.

Yet in spite of this, it seems so many people see only the bad side of hatred.  Many even claim that there is no place for it in a Christian’s life, & shame them for feeling it.  They are wrong.  No, you shouldn’t hate other people but you can hate evil things, such as abuse.  Romans 12:9 in the Amplified Bible says, Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.”  This verse tells me that hatred can have a place, & that place is hating what is evil. 

Think about this in terms of abuse… if you were abused, you hate that, right?  I’m not saying you hate the person who abused you, but you do hate what they did to you.  That hatred helps you to have healthy boundaries with your abuser such as keeping that person at arm’s length or having no relationship with them at all, & protecting your children or other loved ones from the abuser.  You also have learned the red flags of abusive personalities & avoid people who show them.  Maybe you even work on educating others the things you have learned.  These are all very good things, & that can’t be denied!

Then consider those who don’t hate abuse, such as narcissists & their devoted flying monkeys.  Narcissists cause so much pain & suffering, yet their flying monkeys don’t hate that at all.  In fact, they have no problems with it.  They even encourage victims to tolerate the abuse without complaint.  The things flying monkeys seem to hate are victims setting boundaries with the narcissist & refusing to tolerate the abuse.  That is disturbing & sickening, not to mention, the complete opposite of what they should feel in the situation.

While hate is a strong emotion that certainly can have very negative consequences, it also can have good consequences when used correctly.  It’s a good idea to explore your feelings when you feel hate inside.  If you feel hatred for a situation or how someone has treated you, use that feeling to motivate you to make healthy changes in your life. 

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Being The Opposite Of Narcissistic Parents

I was in my late teens when I realized I wanted to be nothing like my parents.  My now ex husband & I started dating around the time I turned 17, & oddly, although he too was a narcissist, he also was the one who helped me realize my mother wasn’t as normal as I thought she was. 

During that awful time, my mother’s abuse hit its peak because I was disobeying her by dating my ex. I realized something.  I realized I wanted to be nothing like her.  I suffered a great deal at her hand & also saw how wrong some of her actions & beliefs were.  I remember thinking that being her complete opposite would be a good thing, & I strived for that.

I later realized that was wrong.

Obviously being like a narcissist is a bad thing.  So much of their behavior is utterly toxic & just terrible at best.  But, there may be things to learn from a narcissistic parent beyond how not to behave.

My mother taught me to crochet when I was five years old.  Now?  It’s forty-five years later at the time I’m writing this, & I still crochet.  I even have created some of my own patterns.  Crocheting is one of my favorite hobbies.

My father taught me about cars during my entire growing up life.  I now know plenty about car maintenance, diagnosing problems, how to fix problems, the year/make/model of many of the old cars that he & I both loved & more.

Both of my parents were also avid readers.  They instilled a love of & respect for books in me that is still there.  In spite of losing the ability for years to read much thanks to a brain injury & C-PTSD, I never lost that love of books.

After my parents died, I was responsible for dealing with their estate matters.  It was totally unexpected & shocking to say the least, but I did it, I’m proud to say.  In that process, I learned how good my mother was with money.  While I tend to be a bit more adventurous than her as far as investing, her experiences gave me excellent insight into how to manage money well.  I also learned some about my father.  I learned some personal things I never knew before, that I was shocked by.  Accolades at work, for example.  He was a master machinist at the Naval Academy here in Annapolis, MD when I was born, & apparently was very good at what he did. 

I think it is only natural to want to be absolutely nothing like a narcissistic parent.  They cause so much pain & suffering in their children that can last a lifetime!  Who wants to be anything like someone who causes pain, let alone someone who causes pain & seems to enjoy it like narcissistic parents do?!  That being said though, going too far in the other direction may not always be a good idea.  My mother did this with her mother, who was the ignoring type of narcissistic mother, & became engulfing with me. Balance & wisdom in this area are key, I believe.

Rather than set out to be exactly the opposite, I suggest you consider things you learned from your narcissistic parent.  I know, there is a lot of negative & toxic things to wade through.  Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing positive to learn from narcissistic parents.  But, sometimes there are positive things to learn.  Did your narcissistic parent have a good work ethic?  Did this parent have some skill that you learned because they were interested in this skill?  Then enjoy those skills!  Use them however benefits you.  There is nothing wrong with that!  Doing so doesn’t mean you’re just like your narcissistic parent.  It simply means that you have the wisdom to learn & fit those skills into your life in a good way.

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If You’re Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had a very strange experience.  That was my father’s birthday, his first since he died the previous October.  I was thinking about that when God told me that my father wanted Him to tell me something.  He said, “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I knew what that message meant immediately. 

After my father died, God showed me a lot about him.  He showed me how my father felt trapped in their marriage & unable to protect me.  At the time of his death, upon meeting God, he also finally saw how wrong he had been to me.  God showed me how weak my father felt he was.  When God said to encourage the weak, I knew immediately He meant that I should encourage those who are in similar situations & also feel weak for it.

Every January on my father’s birthday, I write a blog post to do just this, to encourage those who also feel weak & in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you have been unable to end a relationship with a narcissist, I don’t think this makes you weak at all, although I certainly understand why you could feel that way.  Fighting a narcissist is incredibly draining & makes you feel weak both mentally & physically. 

Maybe the narcissist in your life has destroyed you financially & you are dependent on them.  Sadly this is incredibly common.  Narcissists excel at financial abuse.  That doesn’t make you weak!

Maybe the narcissist has made you feel forced to maintain the relationship with them.  Many make terrible threats if the victim says they want to leave.  They threaten to keep them from their children or even kill their children.  They threaten to kill their loved ones or pets.  When this happens, how can you not stay out of fear the narcissist will follow through on such threats?!  That doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you someone who loves others & wants to protect them.

Narcissists also often make their victims feel obligated to them somehow.  They may twist Scripture around to make you seem evil for considering ending the relationship with your parent or spouse.  Or they may manipulate your good nature & make you pity them.  My ex husband made me feel so guilty for breaking our engagement that I later married him, even though I was incredibly unhappy with him.  Manipulation is what made me return to him & stay as long as I did.  If that is your situation too, it’s manipulation, not weakness on your part!

Maybe the narcissist has destroyed your self-esteem so badly, you feel completely unable to make it without that person.  Sadly, this happens!  Feeling this way isn’t a sign of weakness at all.  It’s a sign of a cruel person abusing you to put you in such a terrible state.

Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist is hard!  It takes a great deal of strength to maintain your sanity & courage to continue on in this way.

If ending the relationship is your goal, that is brave!  It also isn’t the easy fix many people seem to think it is.  If you live with the narcissist, it takes time to prepare financially, to arrange for a new place to live, & more.  Whether or not you live with the narcissist, it also takes time to figure out the best way to end that relationship to minimize their rage as well as for you to summon the courage to follow through with your plans.

No, you aren’t weak for staying in the relationship with a narcissist.  If you’re looking for solutions, that shows you are strong.  Obviously you want to survive this situation & that courage of yours will pay off.  You will get through this with your dignity & your sanity in tact!

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When Covert Narcissists Act Immature, Incompetent, & Dumb

A very common tactic of covert narcissists is to portray themselves as immature, incompetent & even dumb. Considering all narcissists want to be seen as special & even superior people, this sounds wrong, but I can assure you, it happens.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Whether a narcissist is overt or covert, two of their main goals are to abuse & control their victims.  Appearing not overly capable allows narcissists to do just this while receiving no consequences whatsoever, because people often believe that the narcissist who behaves this way simply doesn’t know any better.  Consider these scenarios

A child who grows up with a covertly narcissistic parent like this often is assigned the role of protector of that parent.  Since narcissists often marry, mostly an overt & a covert narcissist, the child protects the covert narcissist parent from the overt one.  The covert narcissist can get away with just as much if not more abuse than the overt one, because the overt is in the spotlight.  There is no denying the abusive ways of the overt narcissist.  Covert narcissistic parents however, can fly under the radar, abusing their children quietly through manipulation while getting their children to protect them from the overt narcissistic parent.  They end up looking like the good parent, & the child honestly believes they are until they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This is how I grew up with a covert narcissist father & overt narcissist mother, & my story is very common.

Consider the common scenario of the covertly narcissistic mother in-law who is verbally abusive to her daughter in-law when they are alone, & never in front of her son.  When the daughter in-law tells her husband, this can go several ways.  One is the husband defends his mother.  He hasn’t seen her do anything his wife says she has, so he doesn’t believe his wife is telling the truth about his mother.  Or, he defends his mother saying yes, she can be hurtful sometimes, but she just doesn’t know any better so the wife can’t get mad at her.  Or, maybe he does believe his wife, & then confronts his mother.  His mother claims she had no idea what she said would upset his wife.  She cries & says she meant no harm, she was just trying to help.  He believes this victim act & stops defending his wife to his mother rather than face her crocodile tears.  By acting immature & unintelligent, this person is able to get away with abusing her daughter in-law, having her son protect her instead of his wife & she has caused a giant rift in their marriage.

Using a covertly narcissistic mother in-law as an example again (since I have plenty of experience in this area), consider this scenario.  This mother in-law hates that her recently married son isn’t spending as much time with her as he once did.  Naturally all parents aren’t thrilled by that, but most take it in stride as a natural course of events.  Narcissistic parents however take it as a personal slight against them, as if their adult child’s new spouse married them for the sole purpose of stealing them from their parents.  Rather than simply call her son & say, “I miss you.  Would you & your wife like to come to dinner next weekend?  I’ll make your favorite dish”, covert narcissistic mothers plan.  The mother in this situation can come up with all sorts of things she needs her son to help her with because she claims she doesn’t know how to do these things.  Since he does, she needs his help.  She often creates more & more tasks for him, taking him away from his new wife.  She may even invent a need for him on his anniversary or his wife’s birthday, claiming she forgot the date.  If his wife protests, he feels torn because although he may want to spend more time with his wife, he feels badly for his poor helpless mom who needs him.  He may even see his wife as unreasonable & selfish.  Another giant rift in the adult son’s marriage can be caused by this situation.

If you recognize someone you know in these behaviors, then chances are excellent you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  If that is the case, there are some ways to help you handle this situation. 

Never provide this person personal details or information, since that will be used against you at some point. 

Never show them any emotions, because showing emotions helps narcissists figure out what works in hurting or abusing victims. 

Do NOT allow this person to manipulate you.  Recognize the signs & change the subject, hang up the phone or leave when the manipulation starts. 

Try never to be alone with them.  Covert narcissists behave better when there are witnesses. 

Don’t ever think they just don’t know any better.  They DO know better, but they don’t see a reason to behave better. 

Never forget that no one can be devious & stupid at the same time. 

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Narcissistic In-Laws

For simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to the victim in this article as he & the spouse as she, but the roles easily could be reversed.

When you are married to someone with narcissistic family members, your life is full of challenges.  Narcissistic families expect their chosen victim to do as they want, which includes marrying only someone of whom they approve.  When that doesn’t happen, that victim & spouse’s life becomes incredibly challenging.

One common problem in these situations is when the victim doesn’t recognize the level of dysfunction in the family.  He may recognize that his family can be difficult or bossy, but doesn’t see them as the cruel or manipulative people they truly are.  She however, recognizes the depths of the situation.  When she tries to say anything about his family, he becomes defensive.  She gets frustrated, he gets frustrated, an argument happens & nothing gets resolved. 

This scenario is very common, & easily can result in divorce if handled the wrong way.

As tempting as it can be for you if you see the situation clearly, asking your spouse to choice you or his family is never a good idea!  The one who gives the ultimatum usually ends up on the losing end.  The person receiving the ultimatum feels unfairly pressured & manipulated.  On the rare chance the one receiving it goes along with it, he will end up feeling resentful in time.

When you feel you must mention the situation, do so calmly & as non-accusatory as humanly possible.  Anger will make your spouse defensive because he’ll feel as if you’re attacking him & his family.  Try to remain calm & leave emotion out of the situation as much as possible.  Men respond better to logic than emotions, & in this case may feel as if the emotions are less about emotions & more of an attempt at manipulation.  Women in these situations may respond to calmly expressed emotions, however, such as, “I feel like your mom tries to interfere too much in our marriage.  It makes me really uncomfortable.”

Have your own boundaries firmly in place as much as possible with your in-laws.  Don’t let them manipulate you or push you around.  Remain calm when setting those boundaries, so if your spouse sees this happen, he can’t say you were mean or unreasonable.  Your narcissistic in-law will be angry however, & your spouse will see their irrational behavior as you remain calm.

There may be a time when you have to go no contact with your narcissistic in-laws.  This can cause problems in your marriage.  A person still under the spell of their narcissistic family may not understand your reasoning.  If you firmly believe no contact is the best solution in your situation, calmly explain to your spouse that this isn’t you trying to manipulate him or come between him & his family.  Instead, this is what you feel is best for you to do.

Always remember not to have expectations of your spouse where his family is concerned.  Expectations put pressure on him & make his situation even more difficult.  Also, he may resent them, no matter how reasonable they are, which means he will resent you.  This will push him closer to his family & make him pull away from you.

Try to be patient & understanding of the situation.  This is hard, I know, but if you too had a narcissistic family, you understand how hard it is to be under their influence before recognizing what they really are.    

At some point, he is going to get frustrated or angry with his family & need to talk about it.  When this happens, do NOT say anything like, “I told you so!” or, “I always knew she was like that.”  Listen quietly while offering your support.  You can gently state the truth in a matter of fact way. If he asks for advice, give it without being critical. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself in this situation, too.  Pray.  Write in your journal.  Talk to supportive friends or family who understand your situation for what it really is. 

Last but certainly not least, never ever forget to pray about your situation!  Let God show you how best to handle things with your spouse & toxic in-laws as well as how to take care of your own mental health.  His help is truly invaluable & He will show you the right way to handle the situation!

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When Children Of Narcissistic Parents Exhibit Narcissistic Behaviors

When you are a child, your parents are more or less like a god to you.  They are responsible for meeting your needs.  They seem to know everything, only because you are too young to have much experience in life.  They are always there.

Having good parents is a wonderful thing.  It’s also easy to learn good ways from good people.  Obviously life isn’t perfect, but the positive you learned from your good parents helps you handle the less than perfect times.  You are a good, functional, caring person who can handle what life throws at you with grace & dignity.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, this sadly isn’t the case.

One aspect of having narcissistic parents means you were deprived of learning good & healthy habits.  In fact, you may learn plenty of bad habits.  You may become judgmental & critical.  You may become selfish & not overly concerned with the needs of other people.  You also may learn other bad habits from your narcissistic parents such as lying, refusing to accept responsibility for hurting others or projection.

I still remember when I was only 20 years old.  My now ex husband chewed me out for behaving like my mother.  He was excessively critical of me since he was a narcissist, but in this instance, he was right.  We were talking about some new music that had come out recently.  I didn’t like the music, & he did.  I said that band was terrible.  He said I sounded just like my mother.  He also said, “Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t have talent.  It just means you don’t like them!”  He was right.  They clearly did have talent & they became quite popular, but played music that simply wasn’t my taste. 

That conversation was a wake up call for me.  I was terrified of becoming like my narcissistic mother who said everything & everyone she disliked was bad.  It helped me to become more aware of my behavior & make good changes.

It also scared me.  I was afraid that I would turn out like my mother.  I knew first hand how critical & cruel she could be, yet I imitated her behavior by what I said about that band. 

Chances are good that if you too were raised by narcissistic parents, you have experienced similar moments of behaving like your parents.  If so, don’t worry about it!  You can & will change!  The more you heal from the abuse, the healthier you will behave.  It happens naturally.  But, if you recognize that you’re behaving in some unhealthy ways, you can change those individually.  Figure out why you are behaving as you are.  Ask God to show you the root of the behavior & how to heal from that.  Consider how you would feel if someone said or did the same thing to you that you did to others.  Recognizing how badly it’d hurt to be treated as you treat others can be a huge motivator for changing into healthier behaviors. 

If you do mirror some behaviors of your narcissistic parent & wonder why, it’s probably because children naturally imitate their parents.  It doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist!  You’re doing a natural thing, imitating your parent.  Or, it could be some sort of defense mechanism.  Many times, two narcissists marry.  You saw one parent being mistreated & retaliating by behaving as they did, so you do the same to protect yourself.  Sadly, these things happen sometimes.  Thankfully though, you are aware of your behavior & want to change!  You should be very proud of yourself for that!

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30% Off All My Print Books Until November 30, 2021

My publisher is having a really good sale on print books right now! 30% off! Shipping time may be a bit slow due to supply chain issues, but if you don’t mind the wait, this is a great time to get the books you want. Simply use code SAVE30 at checkout.

The print versions books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Some Reasons Why Victims Side With Abusers

If you have survived an abusive relationship & are working on healing from that, the possibility of someone who has been a victim siding with their abuser can seem utterly impossible to comprehend.  Yet sadly it happens more often than you might think.

Many people who have been abused refuse to find some way to come to terms with it.  They won’t accept that someone who was supposed to love them not only didn’t love them but actively tried to hurt them.  This is particularly the case with children abused by their parents.

Being abused by a parent also can make you feel like if your own parent doesn’t love you, then clearly you must be unlovable.  Children naturally seem to have a propensity for accepting blame that isn’t theirs, so when their parent doesn’t love them, they assume it’s because of something they have done wrong or there is something wrong with them.  Instead, they accept this faulty belief as fact, thinking they deserve the abuse.  They often grow up to say things like, “Yea, Dad was hard on me but he made a man out of me!”

Another reason victims of abuse may side with abusers is cognitive dissonance.  That is the feeling that comes with learning the truth that directly clashes with some deeply held belief.  Believing your parents are good people then learning they were anything but creates that painful cognitive dissonance.  It makes a person question everything they thought they believed.  Cognitive dissonance is truly painful, & many people would rather avoid it completely.  If that means siding with their abusive parent, so be it.  They prefer that to facing their pain.

Sometimes adults who survived abusive childhoods see other victims dealing with their pain.  They see the suffering they go through with flashbacks, nightmares, crippling anxiety & depression, maybe even suicidal tendencies & they are afraid that if they face their pain, they will end up going through the exact same pain.  Also, they may be reminded of their own pain that they refuse to face.  Instead of trying to show victims they care, they rush to shut them down.  One way they do this is to side with abusers & try to normalize their behavior.  Not only the abusers of their fellow victims, but theirs as well.

Another reason victims may side with their abusers is to create the illusion of normalcy.  If they can justify their abusive parent’s behavior, then it becomes normal, which in turn means they were treated normally & are normal people.  Thinking this way makes the victims feel normal, & not like a victim or something is wrong with them. It also has another purpose.  Many times, victims of child abuse marry other victims as adults.  In these situations, often one person faces their pain while the other tries their best to avoid it.  If the one facing their pain points out to the one who refuses to that his or her parent is abusive, that causes pain that this person has tried hard to avoid for a long time.  If he or she can make the other person believe they are overreacting, over sensitive or even crazy, the abuse was totally normal, & their parent did nothing wrong, this can stop the healthier person from discussing this topic.  The healthier person will get discouraged in trying to help their partner, & may give up the unhealthy person to their dysfunctional ways.

Rather than deal with painful things, it seems like many victims of abuse think that the easier alternative is to side with the abusive parent.  Pretending all is fine & their abusive parent wasn’t a monster at all but instead a good parent doing their best is truly a dysfunctional coping skill!  It’s a shame it’s also such a common one.

If you have someone in your life who is doing this, I know how incredibly difficult & frustrating it is.  You want the best for him or her, but this person doesn’t see that.  They see you as unreasonable, over sensitive, unkind, or whatever.  If you are to continue this relationship, then please pray.  Ask God to give you wisdom about how to handle things & pay attention to what He says.  He knows this person better than you possibly could.  If you feel God wants you to speak on this subject, then do so gently & humbly.  Remain logical & not emotional because heated emotions only shut this type of person down.  Ask logical questions too, like, “Why do you think it’s OK your father beat you with a belt?  If I told you my father did it, would you still think it’s OK?”

God may also say that you shouldn’t discuss this with your loved one.  Some people are extremely determined to continue in this dysfunction & nothing anyone says can get through to them.  If this is your situation, then do NOT discuss it!!  Have a safe place to vent your frustrations though, because you are going to need it.  Pray, journal, talk to a close friend.. just don’t keep your frustrations inside.  Remember, you don’t have the right to try to force something on another person, even if your intentions are good & it’s a good thing.  Let God deal with this person & show them the truth.  When He does it, there won’t be any doubt it’ll be done the best way possible!

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Special Days & Narcissists

Narcissists are well known for being intensely selfish.  One of the ways that selfishness manifests is by them ruining special days for their victims.  Those special days simply must revolve around the narcissist.  If those special days revolve around you or are special to you, that is totally unacceptable to a narcissist!  That must be obliterated so all attention can be turned back to the narcissist in question!  How does a narcissist do this?  They have so many tactics, & I will address a few here.

It’s your wedding anniversary falls in early April?  What a coincidence!  Tax day is just around the corner!  A narcissist might demand you or your spouse (whoever is best with financial matters) complete their taxes on this day so they can file their taxes without being late. 

Your birthday is in the near future?  Another coincidence!  It’s also time for the narcissist to have that medical procedure.  After all, that elective procedure is way more important than the birthday you have every year, so forget enjoying your birthday. 

It’s December.  Merry Christmas!  Oh wait.. you really thought you could celebrate Christmas without focusing on your narcissistic parent or sibling?!  Not likely!  Instead, know that you MUST celebrate the day however the narcissist dictates & on the exact day the narcissist dictates.  It’s not really Christmas unless it’s celebrated when & however the narcissist demands it be celebrated.

A common tactic narcissists use to turn the attention of special days back to themselves is to invent a crisis on or close to a special day.  One Christmas, my husband & his siblings decided to spend Christmas day with their immediate families rather than with their parents.  Rather than accept this or reschedule the annual Christmas celebration for a different day, their diabetic mother stopped taking insulin.  She ended up in the hospital right around Christmas day.  Her adult children rallied to her side.  When asked why she stopped taking insulin, she said she was simply too busy making everyone Christmas cookies to bother taking her insulin.  It was quite the martyr act!

Guilt is another common tactic.  If you can’t or won’t spend a special day with a narcissist, they often will say things that make you feel obligated to them like, “That’s ok.. I’m used to being alone anyway…” or, “You promised you’d be there!  You have to come!!”

Those of us who recognize the manipulation regarding special days & refuse to accept the manipulation are often shamed for being cold or selfish because we don’t go along with whateverthe narcissist wants.  Narcissists act like there is something wrong with us for not enjoying special days as they think we should, & sharing them with the narcissist in our lives.  Those on the outside are often quick to criticize us for being “too negative” & act like something is very wrong with us for not thoroughly enjoying special days.  As if they would feel differently after being subjected to the mind games of a narcissist.  How ridiculous!

If you feel this way, I want to tell you today that there is nothing wrong with you. 

If you have become angry about a narcissist ruining your joy over special days, that is totally understandable.

If you decided not to celebrate any special days because a narcissist ruined them for you, that is totally understandable.

If you have decided to create your own traditions & avoid all narcissists on special days, that is also totally understandable.

If you opt to take each special day as it comes & follow what your heart dictates on each special day, that also truly is understandable.

You have been through some pretty awful treatment & certainly you have earned the right to celebrate or not celebrate these days however works best for you!

Don’t let anyone dictate how you spend special days.  You enjoy holidays in whatever way works for you.  Ignore them, treat them as any other day, or go over the top with celebrating them your own way.  You do you & don’t let anyone convince you that you are wrong!

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Saying “I Love You”

Recently I learned that an old friend of mine passed away suddenly & unexpectedly.  We met not long after I got my first computer in 2000, on an aol message board.  We emailed frequently.  Although we only met once in person & spoke on the phone only a handful of times, I cherished her friendship.  She was the definition of a southern belle – gentle, gracious, thoughtful, loving & most of all she had a strong faith in God.

Naturally, losing this lovely lady has caused me to think a lot about relationships & life in general.  One of the things that crossed my mind was our final conversation.  She wasn’t feeling well, so it was fairly brief, unfortunately.  I remember our last words before hanging up though.. “I love you.”

When I was growing up, my paternal grandparents always did this too.  We never parted company either in person or over the phone without saying, “I love you.”  It’s something that I believe is important to do with those close to me.  Honestly, no one knows when the time comes that they may leave this earth or even when a relationship may end unexpectedly, so why not be certain that your last words to those good, special people in your life are “I love you”?

Doing this means that there will be no regrets over last words said if the relationship stops.  That can make a big difference in a person’s peace!

The last words my grandfather & I said to each other before he died in 2003 were, “I love you.”  Although I don’t remember much of the conversation, I do remember that.  It brings me comfort during those times I miss him to remember how much we love each other.

The last time I saw my father before going no contact several months before he died, our parting words were “I love you.”  As much as I hated his narcissistic behavior, I did love him, & am glad I told him so. 

I know this isn’t exactly the most cheery topic in the world, & for that I apologize.  I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed anyway.  People seem to think saying I love you should be reserved for romantic relationships only, but really, it should be said in all kinds of healthy relationships.  Children need to know their parents love them & vice versa.  Grandparents & grandchildren should hear a heartfelt “I love you” said freely & often.  Even friends need to hear it.  I love my friends dearly, & tell them often. 

It’s common knowledge that falling in love with someone releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain, but I can’t help thinking that knowing you are loved by someone you love, whatever the nature of the relationship, has the same effect.  Hearing the words, “I love you” said with sincerity certainly draws people closer together & feels good, whether the person saying it is a romantic interest, friend or relative.

I believe that it’s time to normalizing telling those you love, that you love them.  Why not start today?

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About My Print Books

I recently received an email from my print book publisher. There are difficulties with supply chain delays, so they recommend customers expect to receive their books in at least 3 weeks. Usually, the time is much shorter.

I was thinking about this & how it can affect my readers, I had some thoughts.

  • Ebooks are cheaper, easier to hide from abusers, & are ready for reading the moment they are purchased. They’re a great option if money is tight, you live with your abuser, don’t want him or her to know you’re reading such material, &/or are in a rush to read a book. I urge you to consider buying the ebook version of my books rather than print if you are in such situations. They can be found at this link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
  • If you still prefer the print copy, you have two options:
    • If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply order from my website as normal. Just be prepared for possible delays. They can be ordered at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug
    • I always have copies of most of my books to have available for anyone who would like to buy them directly from me. I can sell & ship them myself at a slightly lower price than my publisher because as the author, I get a discount on my books. I also can ship via media mail (slow but cheap) or priority mail (fast but more expensive), buyer’s choice. Simply contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com & let me know what book(s) you would like. I’ll figure out your price & get back to you asap. I also added this information to my website so it’ll be readily available & easier to find than this blog post. Just visit my site at any time at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug,com

Thank you for your patience & understanding! It is very appreciated!!

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20% Off Print Books Until November 5!!

My publisher is offering a discount of 20% off all of my print books until Friday November 5, 2021. Use code EARLYBIRD20 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Encouragement For Those Who Pray For The Narcissists In Their Lives

Praying for people you love is easy & comes naturally as a Christian.  Praying for people who have done bad things to you is much harder.  Praying for a narcissistic parent who tried to destroy you is about a hundred times harder.  If you have taken it upon yourself to pray for your narcissistic parent, I want you to know that I truly get how hard it is.  I want to offer you some encouragement today to keep doing it, even when you don’t want to.

For many years after I became a Christian, I prayed for the salvation of my narcissistic parents.  Matthew 5:44 says we are to pray for our enemies, so I started praying for them out of obedience to God.  Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it though.  Even before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I realized their behavior was that of people who didn’t think they needed God in their lives in spite of saying they prayed & loved God.  Praying for them seemed pointless.  Not because God was unable to reach them, but because they clearly turned their backs on Him.  No matter what He did, if they didn’t want to hear or acknowledge His voice, they wouldn’t.  I got more lax in my prayers for them for a while.

As they got older & their health began failing, I stepped up my prayers more.  It was obvious they weren’t going to be around for a long time, so in spite of my lack of hope, I prayed for them daily.

The day my father died, a former friend of mine got a vision from God about my father.  The story is readily available on a link on the menu at the top of my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you would like to read it.  Rather than repeat it here, suffice it to say that my father turned to God at the very end of his life.

Almost exactly eighteen months later, my mother died.  During the conversation with the funeral director, he asked my husband & I about our religious views.  Turned out he too was a Christian.  As we were discussing the final arrangements, he suddenly stopped.  He said God told him to tell me that my mother was with Him in Heaven!  A short time later, I found a tiny Bible in my mother’s house.  Apparently it was a gift to her when she was only 9 years old.  Printed towards the end was the Sinner’s prayer.  My mother signed it!  I believe that was proof that the funeral director was correct with the message he told me!

The reason I’m sharing these stories with you today is to encourage anyone who struggles with praying for the narcissist in their life.  I know it’s hard.  I also know that if you can do it, often you feel like a hypocrite because your heart isn’t in it.  There were plenty of times when I prayed for my parents I told God, “I don’t want to do this.  I don’t even care anymore what happens to them.  I’m only doing this because You want me to.”  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet, not once did He make me ashamed of how I felt.  In fact, He understood that & was glad that I was praying for them in spite of not wanting to.  Clearly, He honored even those awful sounding prayers!

I also realize that it can be so disheartening to pray & see no improvement or hope that things will change.  Even so, please keep praying anyway!  All things truly are possible with God.  Just look at what happened with my parents.  And, just because you haven’t seen any change yet doesn’t mean that change won’t happen.

Please remember too, that you may never see the results of your prayers.  I didn’t.  When my father died, I hadn’t spoken to him in months.  When my mother died, it was just under 3 years since we spoke.  Just because I didn’t get to see the results of the prayers in this lifetime didn’t mean they didn’t happen!  Clearly, they did!

Lastly, if it seems as if God is taking too long answering your prayers, I know that can be frustrating!  Please don’t give up though!  Some people are very stubborn & close their hearts to God.  It can take a long time or something drastic to happen to break through that.  An answer delayed doesn’t necessarily mean an answer is denied.  2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says,  “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

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How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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When Narcissists Claim They Don’t Know Why Their Adult Children Went No Contact

I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post.  I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons.  This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent.  I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group. 

Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this.  They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue.  My parents did this.  I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016.  During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt.  I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did.  Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior.  It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his.  He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset.  When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious. 

This is very typical of abusive parents.  My story is only one of many similar ones.  This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better.  It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring.  If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.

I’ve come to realize something though.  Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.

Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad.  They apologize & try to make amends.  As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work.  Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.

Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world. 

In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong.  They won’t admit it, but they know.  You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am.  If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up. 

They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them.  They talk about how this affects them.  But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision.  They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details?  Those are left out.  Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior.  The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.

If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact.  That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right!  Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you.  Please remember that! 

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Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health